Proceedings of The 4th International Conference on Social Science, Humanities and Education
Networks of the ‘Repugnant Other’: Understanding Right-wing Political Mobilization in Germany
Political scientists and sociologists have long been hesitant in applying frameworks from social movements studies to right-wing collective action. Generally developed for left-wing, progressive, egalitarian movements, concepts like rational mobilization, network analysis and micro-mobilizations are considered an awkward fit for analysis of right-wing political and social groups. This paper argues for the importance of such cross-over analysis on two levels. Methodologically, the paper demonstrates crucial importance of ethnographic fieldwork in study of political groups in order to understand the complexity of internal dynamics of right-wing political parties. Insights are drawn from author’s original fieldwork among rank-and-file members of ‘Alternative für Deutschland’ (AfD), a right-wing party in Germany. Substantively, the paper produces a nuanced empirical account of internal dynamics of right-wing mobilization. The paper argues, using insights from the field, that far from being homogenous, irrational and predictive, the actions of right-wing political activists appear to be multi-layered, complex and indeed rational, however onerous to liberal minds.
Keywords: right-wing politics, political ethnography, network analysis, right-wing mobilization, German politics.